Press Release
September 17, 1998
Equine Placement Network, Inc.
Press Releases


Cleveland County, NC Sheriff's Department
Idaho's Owner Debi Metcalfe
can be reached at:

Cleveland, TN- An arrest warrant has been issued for Steve Schuffler of Valdese, NC for the larceny of livestock, a felony in North Carolina in the case involving Idaho, a 13 year old spotted racking mare. Idaho was stolen on September 27, 1998 from her owners, Harold and Debi Metcalf's pasture in Shelby, NC. Thus started a yearlong search by the Cleveland County, NC Sheriff's Department and the Metcalf's for their beloved horse, Idaho. The search took Lt Gary Gold to several states checking out leads, while Debi Metcalf turned to the Internet.

Idaho's picture was listed on numerous websites and posted to equine mailing lists and bulletin boards. Her flyer was downloaded and posted across the country. A few newspapers and TV stations covered Idaho's story after Debi Metcalf pleaded with the media for help in publicizing the widespread problem of horse theft. Debi Metcalf watched while other horses stolen and posted on the Internet were found within weeks of being stolen while the whereabouts of Idaho remained a mystery.

According to Lt Gold, Idaho was allegedly stolen by Steve Schuffler of Burke County, NC on 9/27/98 and sold at Burrell Horse Auction, Inc. in Cleveland, TN on 9/29/98. She was sold to the owner of the auction, Mr Burrell for $800.00.

In the weeks following the sale, Mr Burrell having apparently become aware that Idaho was stolen, allegedly contacted Mr Schuffler and told him to come and get the horse because she was stolen. Allegedly Mr Schuffler again took possession of Idaho and returned to Burke County, NC and over wintered her in pastures in Burke County, NC.

Sometime during late winter to early spring Mr Schuffler allegedly returned to Cleveland, TN and sold Idaho to Chris Ledford. Idaho was then resold to another horse dealer, who in turn resold Idaho to a family in Etowah, TN. Reportedly Idaho was in poor condition at the time of this sale.

She was shown in racking shows by this family, doing well enough to raise her value to an estimated $10,000. There is the possibility that Idaho is in foal.

The Metcalf's travelled to Cleveland TN on 9/16/98 to claim Idaho and are now returning home with her to Shelby, North Carolina, just 10 days shy of a year since she was stolen. The Metcalf's turned down an offer by the family in Etowah to purchase her.

According to Lt Gold, if Idaho was not such an unusually marked horse, the Metcalf's never would have found her. In Lt Gold's opinion horse owners need to have their horses branded or tattooed for easy identification. In his investigation he found detailed and accurate record keeping by auction houses was non existent facilitating the trade of stolen horses.

Lt Gold stated that Idaho was listed as a "Paint Horse" when sold through Burrell's Horse Auction. This description does not mention her age, sex, or her markings in violation of USDA APHIS regulations.

Further charges could be filed by TN authorities against others involved in the sale and resale of Idaho.


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